When Science Stands Up To Creationism

Aug 13, 2016

By Barbara J. King

Overwhelming hard data from biology, geology and anthropology — gathered with a firm grasp of the workings of evolution — prove false the claims made by creationists.

Earth is not 6,000 years old and it wasn’t shaped by a great flood 4,500 years ago. (Earth is 4.5 billion years old.) Humans and dinosaurs did not coexist. (These life forms missed each other by many millions of years.)

When creationist claims are put forth as science in museums or taught as science in schools, our children lose out because their science literacy is diminished.


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27 comments on “When Science Stands Up To Creationism

  • @ OP link – But there was also genuine concern that evolutionary scientists, including me, advocate forcing children to learn one way and one way only.

    This is straight psychological projection of the “god-did-it-is-the-only-way” as a false dichotomy with objective science.

    In response after response, the idea was put forth that all views about how and when life appeared on Earth should be taught so kids can make up their own minds.

    There are various biochemistry and genetics based theories backed by experimental evidence on the possibilities of abiogenesis, but “god-did-it-by-magic” is not one of them!
    Older kids with with a good education in biochemistry, will be in a position to evaluate the various scientific studies, but the notion that young children, novices, and science illiterates, can “make up their own minds” about advanced complex biological questions is simplistic farce!

    A person named John Ellis wrote a piece for PJ Media called NPR Writer Having A Meltdown Because YOUR Children Might Learn About Noah’s Ark.

    Learning that Noah’s ark is an ancient fairy story, (along with Greek gods and heroes), is fine. Adults pretending it is science or accurate history, is just delusion, deception and ignorance!

    Ellis suggested I had succumbed to scientism,

    As I have pointed out on previous occasions the misuse of the ambiguous term “scientism” (which has two opposite contradictory meanings, and an implied suggestion that their assertions “are beyond scientific investigation”), is in regular use by pseudo-science obfuscators, as a pseudo-answer pretext for dismissing scientific evidence!

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/scientism
    scientism

    1. The collection of attitudes and practices considered typical of scientists.
    2. The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry.

    and that I had “demanded an obeisance from parents and the complete sacrifice of their children to the god of contemporary science.”

    Again;- The psychological projection of the false dichotomy of science and “god-did-it”, which implies incorrectly that both views are arrived at and are held on “faith”!
    It is frequently an indication that the person making such assertions has no understanding of scientific methodology or scientific, logical reasoning, and simply projects their own faith-thinking processes of assumption and assertion, on to other people.

    Ellis’s concluding passage was this:

    “Barbara King and her ilk, however, are not actually concerned with guarding the scientific purity of our children.

    This is simply an assertion of science denial. – Probably based on a total ignorance of the validity of scientific methodology.
    Similar references in the linked article to “Trrrooo science”, is another example of an assertion of pretending that circular thinking from mythical preconceptions, can be claimed to be “Science”, and “superior science” at that!
    It is the badge of the science denier, and science illiterate, posing as an “authority”!

    Their real objective is to require that their worldview be privileged over competing worldviews.”

    Evidence based world-views ARE privileged over whimsical assumptions, and logical reasoning, is also privileged over fallacious circular semantic constructs!



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  • @OP link – So in response to these remarks and others like them, let me say it loud and clear:

    Freedom to believe anything one wants in the religious sphere is incredibly important. I’ll have no part of scientists’ religion-bashing.

    This is clearly an apologist anti-science view!
    Science bashes any erroneous or dishonest claims, and NEVER endorses them by either approval or negligence!

    People who celebrate a 6,000-year-old Earth and the sweeping effects of a “great flood” on Earth and its inhabitants in church have as much right to do that as any of us have to espouse our particular brand of religiosity

    However, freedom of speech should not be used as a liars and fraudsters charter!
    People who make delusional or false claims, should not be able to protect these from honest criticism or refutation, by circulating them in church, or by awarding their false claims a religion badge!
    If they decide to raise these issues, others are just as entitled to point out the errors of Bishop Usher’s methods of calculation, along with the evidence of geology, and pronounce them to be false and long refuted claims – in many instances wilfully and dishonestly constructed to mislead.

    People of honesty and integrity, will then correct and update their views. Those who don’t, can expect to wear the badge of ignorance, delusion, or dishonesty, in a scientific society.



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  • “In response after response, the idea was put forth that all views about X should be taught so kids can make up their own minds.”

    It doesn’t matter whether X = “how and when life appeared on Earth”, or X = “how and when the Normans invaded England”, or X =”when and whether the moon landings occurred”, it is an intellectually bankrupt position to say that kids can make up their own minds … it’s up to responsible elders to educate them properly.



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  • It occurs to me that any creationist who relies on the hoary old argument of it being necessary to teach all sides of the (non-existent) evolution or age of the universe debates and let the kids make their own minds up should then be unable to argue against teaching them Hinduism, Islam, Norse Mythology etc etc including atheism and let them make their own minds up there too 🙂



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  • Alan @#1 contined:-

    scientism

    1. The collection of attitudes and practices considered typical of scientists.
    2. The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry.

    The assertion of “scientism” is a common ploy of creationists claiming “default gods” using negative proof fallacies.

    Not only does it conflate correct the scientific methodology of definition 1 , with the alleged misuse of science asserted in definition 2, but it is frequently used as a clandestine assertion of “Non-Over-Lapping Magisteria” which pretends that religion has answers which are “beyond” scientific investigation.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Non-Overlapping_Magisteria

    ”Science and religion are incompatible. Simply completely irreconcilably incompatible. And I can give you the bottom line message in case anyone needs to leave, and that is that; science and religion are incompatible in the same sense that the serious pursuit of knowledge about reality is incompatible with bullshit.” – —P.Z. Myers

    There are issues on which science cannot give clear definitive answers at present (such moral decisions or areas of the unknown), but that is no reason to believe that religion has ANY valid evidence based alternative answers! Science is about evidence based answers on the working of the material universe, whereas religions just offer fanciful speculations – usually from the ages of past ignorance!

    Where supernaturalists are challenged to show where the objective observations and logical or mathematical reasoning of science is NOT applicable, they can only come up with vague assertions about “knowledge from introspection” or alleged “different ways of reasoning”.

    It is mainly shuffling words, obscure assertions and semantic mental gymnastics, as the circle of self deception and the prior indoctrinated core references to “internal messages from god-delusions”, go about ducking and dodging any conflicting evidence which challenges these.

    In short the misuse of the second definition of “scientism” is the projection on to the outside world, of the mental compartmentalisation which is the basis of the assertion that religion and science are compatible!

    Of course there are instances of genuine “scientism” when someone (such as Ham) tries to stick a science badge, onto some spurious claim which is not based on scientific methodology!
    In such instances, their claims (based on false or refuted assertions), are simply “beyond the limits of honest science”, rather than “beyond the possibilities of scientific investigation”.

    There are also the unevidenced claims theist (propped up by negative proof fallacies), which are “beyond refutation”, simply because they are too vague and ill-defined, for there to be any identified substance in the argument to refute!



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  • There’s a part of me that feels Barbara King’s pain. This ‘discussion’ (for want of a better word) is so old it has mold hairs on it.

    There’s another part of me that is depressed. How many times do we have to say to communicators of science, like Barbara King:

    This is not just about defending science, it’s a political fight. In a political fight the fact that you have facts is not a slam dunk. In a political fight your facts are your position and all positions are equal.

    In her second column When Science Stands Up To Creationism, King writes:

    Freedom to believe anything one wants in the religious sphere is incredibly important. I’ll have no part of scientists’ religion-bashing. People who celebrate a 6,000-year-old Earth and the sweeping effects of a “great flood” on Earth and its inhabitants in church have as much right to do that as any of us have to espouse our particular brand of religiosity …

    Then why the blue blazes didn’t King say that in her first column, There’s No Controversy: Let’s Stop Failing Our Children On Evolution?!

    If you want to avoid going round, and round … and round … the same old loop of 4,000 comments:

    It is imperative to nuance your contribution by acknowledging the political nature of any disagreement regarding education between those who understand evolution and those who do not. Qualify, ad nauseum that science classes are for science and that you advocate for the inclusion of different traditional beliefs in classes on sociology, anthropology and comparative religion – but not science, because creationism is not science

    I’ve been promoting this for so many years in so many places, frankly to see someone making this mistake so comprehensively is very disheartening. And King indicates that she is fully aware of the NCSE!

    What do we have to do?

    HELLO!

    IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE, CAN YOU HEAR ME?!

    HELLO?!

    Peace.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon #6
    Aug 15, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Then why the blue blazes didn’t King say that in her first column, There’s No Controversy: Let’s Stop Failing Our Children On Evolution?!

    I would suspect fence-sitting, – and a mistaken belief that exercising the fallacy of the middle-ground, in some way adds to the credibility of an argument, or appeals to a wider audience!



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  • Hi Alan,

    … fence-sitting … the fallacy of the middle-ground … appeals to a wider audience!

    I don’t buy the idea that Barbara King was fence sitting. In her original NPR article There’s No Controversy (etc.); take these phrases:

    … explicit pushback to anti-science creationist discourse …

    .

    Speak out and speak up to school boards

    .

    Let the media know when they do a poor job of covering evolution-related issues or, conversely, a good one

    Barbara King’s tone there is combative. Now, before I get too comfortable sitting on my high horse, I feel I must recognize some truths.

    First, we all make mistakes. I myself recently made one on this forum by relying too heavily on a book review. I’m not proud of that. I might still delete it.

    Another is that Barbara King is surely right to point out that Summer is one of those times when parents have the time and opportunity to check what is actually being taught to their kids. Plus, who can complain about someone using a public forum to ask that parents use their time interacting with their kid’s schools wisely?

    On the other hand I wish that Barbara King had followed your advice on seeking some middle ground. It’s absolutely true, as you would be the first to point out Alan, that there is no middle ground between creationism and evolution when viewed as ideas that correlate with the truth of what we observe. That said, you’re also right in that she would have reached out to a wider audience by seeking some middle ground in the political arena.

    There’s a World of difference between arguing over evidenced ideas and the realm of ideas-in-themselves. This is the difference between teaching controversies over competing world-views (at least I think that’s what they mean by world-view but I stand to be corrected) and the study of the most successful set of ideas in human history (regardless of which history you prefer).

    If Barbara King had taken that line she would have seen far fewer than 4,000 comments because that’s the foundation for political accommodation with the likes of Catholics – most of whom, including their Pope, take the view that evolution and scripture are not at fundamental odds. Most other Christian denominations feel the same way.

    We can try and win political arguments by heroically standing

    on the burning deck

    Whence all but [we] had fled;

    The flame that lit the battle’s wreck

    [Shines] round [us] o’er the dead

    We can also try and win the political arguments by de-converting all the fundies – and, yes, that’s working like a dream … except we don’t have that kind of time.

    Or, revolutionary thought; we could build teams with other people (deep breath) who are religious.

    We can’t cover every town or county council, every school board, every school, every school supervisor, every school district, or every teacher – I don’t care how fast we’re growing as a movement.

    We can learn more, and act more decisively, by marginalising the much smaller minority who are actively backing creationism. I believe that’s a message that Barbara King would both understand, and embrace.

    Barbara King’s first message ought to be: What do we want for our children? The fruits of science have been good for us, we have reaped a great harvest – both literal and figurative – and that brings me to a question that every American Parent should be asking today: How do we ensure that our children get the best science education?

    The second thing she needs to say is: There are many who are pushing our education systems to accept non-science and pseudo-science in science classrooms. Teachers are poorly trained, and frequently struggle to teach science. They need your help.

    Then, and only then, is anyone in a place where they can tackle a very specific kind of non-science being pushed into your child’s education.

    And finally, as a coup de grâce if you will, she might – if she thinks it appropriate – end with a note on those weird Creationist, eh, what about them?

    Peace.



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  • 9
    Pinball1970 says:

    These arguments are not only zero to do with evolution they are zero to do with science, Creationism and ID are not science.

    We just need real scientists stating that fact as often and as high profile as possible

    Get them on YT, on the news, on talk shows, debating panels, face book, expert scientists stating the facts and the position of the scientific institutions.

    The national academy of sciences should take out an ad and government should help fund it, this is about basic education of young people.

    Stop this nonsense now! there is no controversy there is not even a debate!

    I do not get bored at getting angry with this and we should not get bored either, not until its fixed.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon #8
    Aug 15, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Hi Alan,

    Stop this nonsense now! there is no controversy there is not even a debate!

    I know that like myself, you live in England, where there is a National Curriculum, which includes science and evolution.

    The situation in some US states is different, but for my children, there never was a controversy.

    We just need real scientists stating that fact as often and as high profile as possible.

    When I have made statements which mattered, it was from the position of Chair of the Board of Governors, on staff appointment panels, and as a parent governor representative on the Scrutiny Panel overseeing decisions of the local education department.

    We do have a Vardy “faith-school” establishment down the road, but anything from the tiny minority of muppets from “Truth in Science”, which appears in the media is very quickly shot down.
    There is no debate! The science of evolution is taught!



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  • 11
    Pinball1970 says:

    @10

    Yes this more of an issue in the US

    We do have 7000 faith schools in the UK however, I would think the vast majority of these have no issue with evolution?

    Depends how they frame it, god allowed evolution to take place, it was gods mechanism…..

    Perhaps some of the stricter Islamic and Jewish orthodox schools may not teach it?



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  • Religion-bashing scientists? I suppose the truth can give one a headache! It certainly has given me one at times. Thinking is much harder than praying. (Pray, that’s the LEAST you can do). I heard that recently. I wonder sometimes if they realise what they are saying!!!



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  • Pinball1970 #11
    Aug 16, 2016 at 2:57 am

    @10 – Yes this more of an issue in the US

    We do have 7000 faith schools in the UK however, I would think the vast majority of these have no issue with evolution?

    The most of the traditional RCC and Cof E ones won’t have issues in science lessons, but will have indoctrination elsewhere in the teaching.

    Depends how they frame it, god allowed evolution to take place, it was gods mechanism…..

    That is the problem, but it does not necessarily intrude into the simple basic evolutionary or geological mechanisms at lower school levels.

    Perhaps some of the stricter Islamic and Jewish orthodox schools may not teach it?

    Some very silly politicians, pandering to faith-groups and ignoring expert advice, opened up the doors to their ideological “innovative” education management of schools, devoid of LEA “bureaucratic” supervision by specialist advisors and locally elected council representatives.
    Unsurprisingly, they then had to send in OFSTED to sort out the creationist mess in the Trojan-horse schools within a year or two, – having made the “miraculous discovery”, that fundamentalist faith groups, cannot be trusted to follow regulations on teaching honest science or a proper secular curriculum!
    Who would have thunk it????



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #4
    Aug 14, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    It occurs to me that any creationist who relies on the hoary old argument of it being necessary to teach all sides of the (non-existent) evolution or age of the universe debates and let the kids make their own minds up should then be unable to argue against teaching them Hinduism, Islam, Norse Mythology etc etc including atheism and let them make their own minds up there too.

    The farcical nature of this claim is indeed illustrated, if we shoot down the pretence that there is ONE DEFAULT creation story, when there are in fact so many, that to teach them all would take up the entire school timetable!
    (Not just the timetabled science curriculum.)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_creation_myths

    Indeed, there is inadequate timetabled time in schools, to even properly teach the Nature timeline of cosmology and evolution, or the basics of physics, chemistry, biology, and geology!



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  • As scientists and atheists we should stop using the word “believe.” That term is so ambiguous that few people truly know what you mean. NO, I do NOT “believe” in evolution, damnit. I accept some of the theories in evolutionary biology because they are based in observable evidence. I do not accept the existence of a god because there is no evidence for such an entity. Notice the I avoid the term “believe.”



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  • cbrown #16
    Aug 21, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I do not accept the existence of a god because there is no evidence for such an entity.

    I would usually express this:
    “I do not accept the existence of gods because there is no evidence for such entities.

    “Using the plural challenges the notion of a “default god”, and puts the theist in the position of having to dismiss or challenge other god-claims, or god versions, many of which are, or have been, widely held on “faith” by others.

    Having to try to justify why theirs is “the right god”, or why “their dogmas” are more valid than others, puts the theist on the back foot when in front of a mixed faith audience. It also highlights the conflicts and contradictions produced by faith-thinking.

    Thus taking the argument from the regular “You cannot DISprove my god, to “Can you disprove anyone else’s gods or do you recognise the fallacy of negative proof claims?”



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  • OK, I think everyone is getting wrapped around the axle on this topic.

    Using the Natural Laws (NL, the basic principles of physics):

    No one can prove the Existance of God (call this the Existance axiom, AE) and

    No one can prove non Existance (~AE).

    These two statements are not logically related and they are both true.

    What that means is that AE is independent of the Natural Laws. If you don’t understand the concept of axiomatic independence, look up Axiom of Choice as an example.

    Why is this important? Two reasons. NL is causal up to a point. We cannot derive or explain the fundamental physical constants. We cannot explain or describe the state of the universe at zero time.

    If AE is proposed as a First Cause, again we cannot prove or disprove the statement. The fact that we have no evidence based on NL is not an argument for or against AE if it is independent of NL.

    This discussion can properly be categorized as Agnostic Theism. We can accept AE or reject AE and it makes no difference in the everyday pursuit of NL.

    There is a fundamental difference between religion and agnostic theism. Religion has no place in science and in fact should not be a part of any societal activity such as politics. It has a destructive history and should be countered at every turn.

    However, agnostic theism must be considered since it is both independent of NL and necessary to a large contingent of humanity.

    Humans exist in a causal world. Most are very uncomfortable with statements that have no apparent cause. That is why gods were invented. If you completely destroy God, you risk alienation. Trying to shove ~AE down their throats will have severe consequences for the teaching and understanding of science and NL. The best approach is to push AE to First Cause and draw the line there. Most people are satisfied with the idea that God created the initial universe and then stepped back.

    In the teaching of science and NL the proper response to the question of Divine action and purpose is best formed as: “If you choose to believe that God established the physical constants and initiated the Big Bang, that is fine, but we are here to understand science and NL based on observation and consistent mathematical models that both explain and predict observed phenomena.”



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  • Eric Stroud #18
    Aug 21, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Using the Natural Laws (NL, the basic principles of physics):

    No one can prove the Existance of God (call this the Existance axiom, AE) and

    No one can prove non Existance (~AE).

    That is not strictly true – not even for a deistic god.
    When it come to theist god-claims, most of the supernatural claims can be refuted, as can much of the the pseudo-history, the faked documents, and faked relics.

    The onus of proof is on those asserting existence, but before they can even assert existence they need to define what they mean by “god” or the claim is not even an axiom.

    These two statements are not logically related and they are both true.

    Without a specific definition of a god, there is just vague waffle and nothing to refute! The only evidence of gods in the material universe in the neuroscience and psychology of god-delusions – and god-delusions, which contradict each other and scientific evidence in multiple examples.

    What that means is that AE is independent of the Natural Laws. If you don’t understand the concept of axiomatic independence, look up Axiom of Choice as an example.

    Existence is a property of matter, forces ,and energy.
    It cannot simply be conjured into existence by semantic shufflings or assertions of presumed axioms!
    “Existence” is a property of natural laws.

    In the teaching of science and NL the proper response to the question of Divine action and purpose is best formed as: “If you choose to believe that God established the physical constants and initiated the Big Bang, that is fine, but we are here to understand science and NL based on observation and consistent mathematical models that both explain and predict observed phenomena.”

    While I would seek to minimise the negative effects of theistic beliefs on science teaching, a fundamental of scientific methodology, is following the objective evidence to rational conclusions, without biased preconceptions clouding the thought processes.

    Science does not make up fictitious first causes. If it does not know, it says it does not know.
    That in no way detracts from is known to high levels of probability, or what has been refuted and consequently dismissed.

    There is a fundamental difference between religion and agnostic theism.

    I’m not sure about “fundamental”, but the Dawkins 1 to 7 Scale shows the range of beliefs pretty clearly.

    http://www.diffen.com/difference/Agnostic_vs_Atheist
    Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung: “I do not believe, I know.”
    De facto theist. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. “I don’t know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.”
    Leaning towards theism. Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. “I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.”
    Completely impartial. Exactly 50 per cent. “God’s existence and nonexistence are exactly equiprobable.”
    Leaning towards atheism. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. “I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.”
    De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. “I don’t know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”
    Strong atheist. “I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one.”

    Dawkins has stated he is a “6.9” on the scale.

    I have severe doubts about anyone being completely impartial(point 4), as I have yet to meet any agnostic who is equally impartial to ALL gods.
    They seem to have doubts about the god of their upbringing or culture, but feel no difficulty in dismissing all the thousands of conflicting ones, just as Strong Theists do.

    Religion has no place in science

    It should have no place , but many theists manage to compartmentalise their thinking so as to accommodate both rational scientific thinking and supernatural beliefs based on faith. This is of course a compromise position which can lead to confused mixing of issues.

    . . . and in fact should not be a part of any societal activity such as politics. It has a destructive history and should be countered at every turn.

    Trying to keep faith thinkers out of politics, is like trying to keep iron filings off a magnet! Most faiths are strongly missionary, tribalistic, and power-seeking, looking to impose their views on the rest of the communities – in theocracies where opportunities allow. They are also full of Dunning-Kruger Confidence in their own ignorance based “knowledge”!



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  • You are missing the point of my argument Alan. What you are describing, the supernatural claims, faked documents, relics, claims of visions are all part of Religion, not agnostic theism. Read what I said carefully. Agnostic theism is not religion and the Dawkins scale does not distinguish that important difference. Agnostic theism is outside Natural Law, it cannot be proved or disproved. It is independent. Please read up on axiomatic independence.

    The acceptance or rejection of Agnostic Theism does not affect our understanding of Natural Law. It only provides an optional First Cause where Natural Law fails. You cannot explain or independently derive the value of the fine structure constant nor the constants that we use to define it. They are at the beginning of a causal chain and have no prior cause in Natural Law. We cannot describe the state of the Universe at time 0 and never will. It is outside the logic of Natural Law. Agnostic Theism addresses ONLY those aspects of physics that do not have a proximate cause within the bounds of Natural Law.

    And the only reason to propose acceptance of agnostic theism is to avoid alienating those who are emotionally and socially unable to embrace gnostic atheism.

    Here is an important article on this sensitive subject. Oh, and guess where it appeared: https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/03/evolution-in-georgia-a-job-for-the-teacher-institute-for-evolutionary-science/

    The important quote in this article is: To counter the tack of creationists, which is to plant seeds of doubt as to the legitimacy of evolution, she teaches about the social controversy in the first week and assures her students that there is no scientific controversy over evolution. Dr. Jones also reassures her students. “I’m not trying to take you away from God.”

    This is real, tangible evidence that incorporating agnostic theism is beneficial to the teaching of science in general and evolution in particular.



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  • Eric Stroud #20
    Aug 21, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    You are missing the point of my argument Alan. What you are describing, the supernatural claims, faked documents, relics, claims of visions are all part of Religion, not agnostic theism.

    As with god-claims, you would have to produce a coherent definition of “agnostic theism” before there was any hypothesis to discuss.
    Those listed items are all features of theists belief, so you would need to be clear about which to ones agnosticism applies. – Otherwise the claim is just a cherry picked no True Scotsman fallacy

    Read what I said carefully. Agnostic theism is not religion and the Dawkins scale does not distinguish that important difference.

    Agnostic theism is religion with doubts! However, without specifying which religion(s) or god(s) the doubts are about, the term is meaningless!

    Agnostic theism is outside Natural Law, it cannot be proved or disproved.

    Anything in this universe which is “outside natural law” is either fantasy, fallacy, or non-existent.

    It is independent.

    It seems to be independent of a coherent definition!

    Please read up on axiomatic independence.

    Axiomatic independence is a feature of hypothetical mathematical models.
    You have produced no description of a hypothetical mathematical self consistent model.
    All you have done is assert that some undefined term divorced from the normal definitions of “theism” exists outside of reality, as a vague notion which cannot be DIS proved, because it is to vague and lacking in any substance to investigate or analyse.
    As I pointed out in an earlier comment, agnostics almost invariably are agnostic about the religion(s) of their cultural upbringing.
    I have yet to meet or even hear of anyone who is agnostic about ALL the thousands of present and past religions.

    Dr. Jones also reassures her students. “I’m not trying to take you away from God.”

    God spelt with a capital “G” and in this context is an Abrahamic god – with (according to denomination or cult) has a whole range of claimed properties. It also has nothing to do with your claimed but undefined ” agnostic theism”!

    This is real, tangible evidence that incorporating agnostic theism is beneficial to the teaching of science in general and evolution in particular.

    There is no evidence at all, that theists will convert to and accept deism as an aid to them learning evolution.
    There is evidence that those who have already accepted non-interfering deism or compartmentalism, are less inhibited in learning science than the fundamentalists or literalists, but any form of theism or supernatural beliefs can pervert the understanding of science.

    Refusing to challenge theism outright may well stop science teaching being rejected out of hand by the deeply indoctrinated, but scientists refusing to challenge anti-science assertions, theistic semantic ramblings, or faith-based fallacious thinking, simply perverts the science.

    Dr. Jones also reassures her students. “I’m not trying to take you away from God.”

    Any claims that there is something called agnostic theism, which is divorced from this god is just the smoke and mirrors of deception and delusion.
    That such a situation exists, illustrates a gross failing of childhood science education which has allowed obstructive god-delusions to implanted in children.

    The acceptance or rejection of Agnostic Theism does not affect our understanding of Natural Law. It only provides an optional First Cause where Natural Law fails.

    This is simply the god of gaps fallacy, in which god-did-it by magic-outside-of-natural-laws, is used as a gap-filler to cover ignorance with pseudo-answers!

    This has NOTHING to do with proper science teaching.
    Science teaches, “Beyond this frontier we do not know, but will in time investigate and make discoveries.”

    That is why so many god-filled gaps of the past have been closed by scientific discoveries.



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  • Eric Stroud #20
    Aug 21, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    You are missing the point of my argument Alan. What you are describing, the supernatural claims, faked documents, relics, claims of visions are all part of Religion, not agnostic theism.

    I think it is yourself who is missing the key point, that RELIGION – with or without doubts, IS THEISM – what ever semantic shufflings it is dressed up in!

    Once science is fudged to accommodate religion, it becomes pseudo-science – as is the case of theistic evolution (evolutionary creationism) in its various forms.

    For deistic evolution to be compatible with scientific evolution, it has to ditch all the “purpose” and “need for believers”, which is included in theistic evolution. Very few (if any,) theists are willing to do that!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deistic_evolution

    The psychologist Steve Stewart-Williams[1] in his book Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life (2010) states:

    “Deistic evolutionists hold that God created the universe and the laws of nature… but that once the ball was rolling, he ceased to intervene in the day-today running of the world or in the course of natural law. God was like the ether after Einstein: he no longer had any role to play in the universe.[2] ”

    Stewart-Williams further writes that deistic evolution strips God of what most religious believers consider central. |Any deistic God is not around for prayers, miracles or to intervene in people’s lives and that because of this it is unpopular with monotheistic religions.

    Deism allows people to cling to the notion of a god, while supposedly rejecting all the supernatural claims of theism, but usually this is only a facade, and the hidden theist beliefs and dogmas, surface in later stages of any debate they offer!

    Those claiming to be Deists, are usually on the road to atheism but short of the destination, or they are simply theists being dishonest, to make a more defensible argument.



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  • The speed of light is approx 186,000 mps or 300,000 kps. In one nano-second light travels approx 1 metre. So far I haven’t heard any religious argument about the “controversy” about the speed of light. Why ? If the universe is only some 6020 years old, according to Archbishop Ussher’s Biblical chronology, how can we see a tree in Sweden older than the universe ? How come we can see stars back to some 13 billion years ? OKAY rhetorical questions. YEC views are just plain wrong and have NO place in science lessons unless it be to ridicule them.



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  • Mr DArcy, They claim the speed of light may not be the same in both directions. This is more of their thinking “I’m the center of everything”.
    The point of reference for them is themselves.



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  • Eric Stroud #20
    Aug 21, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Agnostic theism is not religion and the Dawkins scale does not distinguish that important difference.

    All forms of theism and agnosticism are covered by the Dawkins Scale.

    Agnostic theism is outside Natural Law, it cannot be proved or disproved.

    So are most vague fantasies, regardless their high levels of improbability!

    The acceptance or rejection of Agnostic Theism does not affect our understanding of Natural Law. It only provides an optional First Cause where Natural Law fails.

    The insertion of ANY unevidenced preconceptions of “first causes” affects our understanding of natural law, as is shown by discoveries as understanding in previously unknown areas progresses.
    This has been demonstrated throughout history, and in particular in the conflicts between fundamentalist religious beliefs and science.

    It only provides an optional First Cause where Natural Law fails.

    “Natural Law”, does not “FAIL”!
    Only current human explanations of it fail, and usually only until further research makes progress to push forward the boundaries of knowledge.

    You cannot explain or independently derive the value of the fine structure constant nor the constants that we use to define it. They are at the beginning of a causal chain and have no prior cause in Natural Law.

    We do not know what is “at the beginning of the causal chain”, but as scientists, cannot simply make something up and pronounce it to be so. At best we can put forward testable hypotheses.

    We cannot describe the state of the Universe at time 0 and never will.

    How could you possibly have any basis for that prediction?

    It is outside the logic of Natural Law. Agnostic Theism addresses ONLY those aspects of physics that do not have a proximate cause within the bounds of Natural Law.

    Or – in other words – there is undescribed physics of the big bang, yet to be investigated, just as there is undescribed physics beyond the event-horizons of Black-Holes!
    The gapology of some “god-did-it-by-magic”, is not a valid or scientific answer!

    Anything “outside of logic” is incoherent ramblings!

    And the only reason to propose acceptance of agnostic theism is to avoid alienating those who are emotionally and socially unable to embrace gnostic atheism.

    “Gnostic atheism” is a strawman reverse mirror projection from “gnostic theism”! The bigoted obstruction of learning, is a problem of theism, not a problem in the understanding of science by atheists.
    “Gnostic atheism” is a claim made by those who have swallowed anti-science pseudo-science preaching, claiming “materialist science” is some sort of religious “atheist science”

    The universe is made up of material matter, forces and energies! They need to dump the “ethereal” woo and get over this!

    Science does not “do fudge” of soundly established high-probability evidence! Nor does it do gods of gaps!

    Once fudged preconceptions and god-did-it, are presented as acceptable by scientists as explanations of the unknown, theists are likely then to apply this to all their personal unknowns, as in the examples from history, and of the Vatican versions of theistic evolution! – Pseudo-science, in which most of the physical and biological mechanisms which have been clearly identified by objective tested science, have god-did-it-in-unspecified-magical-mysterious-ways, substituted for these, to accommodate dogmatic preconceptions.
    (The mechanisms of evolution do NOT work for the PURPOSE of creating believers and worshippers of Abrahamic gods!)

    Fudging science to accommodate fundamentalist dogmas, is simply teaching perverted pseudo-science to accommodate fundamentalist preconceptions.

    As pseudo-science is useless in the real world, because it deliberately introduces flaws and flawed thinking, it cannot be accommodated in honest science education! – Not if this is to be a preparation for life in the real technological world.

    In engineering and medicine, decisions taken on “faith” in place of checked science, frequently feature in injuries, deaths, and later in accident reports!!! In science, the tail does not wag the dog!



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  • To generalize that a god cannot be proved to NOT exist is about the same as saying one cannot prove that other fantasies cannot be proved to not exist (such as Santa Clause, tooth fairies, demons, trolls, goblins and vampires). Just to be even more ridiculous, can you “prove” existence does not exist?? I say show me the evidence.



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  • To Alan #19:

    Strong atheist. “I know there is no God, with the same conviction as
    Jung knows there is one.”

    Dawkins has stated he is a “6.9” on the scale.

    I have read this kind of thing before and I disagree. Anyone can dream up some wildly weird non-existent entity and begin an argument about whether it exists or not. I have no reason to even discuss the possibility of the existence of gods. I am a 7.000 atheist and I disagree with Dawkins being a “6.9” on the theist-atheist scale and his reasons for being so.



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